Report on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller racism and discrimination launched
Report on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller racism and discrimination launched in Parliament
Gypsy and Traveller campaign groups have launched a comprehensive report on racism and discrimination towards the UK’s Romany Gypsy, Traveller, Roma and Roma Migrants communities.
The report, “Gypsy, Traveller and Roma: Experts by Experience”, which claims that nine out of ten children from these communities have been the victims of racial abuse, is intended to monitor the Government’s efforts to tackle anti-Gypsy discrimination and promote integration.
Siobhan Spencer OBE, of the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group and Adrian Jones of the Northern Network of Gypsy Liaison Groups wrote the report with Dr Pauline Lane from Anglia Ruskin University in response to the Coalition Governments failure to implement European Commission’s Roma Integration Strategy about how Gypsy, Traveller and Roma are treated.
Describing the Coalition Government, Siobhan Spencer said she feared that the Strategy had “fallen on death ears” in the UK, and the report was holding the Government to account over this inaction.
The launch was hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma and was chaired by Andrew George MP. Lord Avebury and Baroness Whittaker from the parliamentary group were also present.
The audience, which included politicians and campaigners, heard from Siobhan Spencer about the appalling conditions that are driving many Eastern European Roma to seek sanctuary in the UK.
She said that she had heard “awful stories about people escaping from victimisation and poverty, and that people shouting about clearing the Roma homeless from Park Lane, London need to understand the history of the Roma people.”
Assen Slavchev, a Roma representative, described the overcrowded and “unbelievable” rented housing that many Roma migrants are forced to live in and said the UK was sliding back to “Dickensian Times.”
Tim Jones, a planning barrister and Tom McCcready, a Romany Gypsy campaigner concentrated on the new planning proposals for Traveller sites and the threat to redefine who Gypsies and Travellers are for planning purposes put forward by the Coalition Government. Attacking the planning definition that the government is planning to tighten up, Mr McCready described his bafflement at how he had to prove he was a Gypsy to get his Traveller site planning permission, and said that ‘gypsy status’ “was something that should never be lost and never be gained.”
Pauline Anderson from the Traveller Movement spoke about education and the need to promote positive role models of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers who have done well in schools and gone on to establish professional careers.
Siobhan Spencer added that Gypsies and Travellers have a right to a home that is not in danger of being evicted or set on fire and that the “communities have come together to solve this problem, but the government needs to meet them half way.”
The full report can be read by following this link: http://www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskin/en/home/news/roma_report.Maincontent.0007.file.tmp/Experts%20by%20Experience.pdf
By Mike Doherty